Where you live: Lana'i - Honolulu, Hawaii news, sports & weather - KITV Channel 4

Where you live: Lana'i

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Kuana Torres Kahele has been on a mission to haku or write new songs about special places on each island - enough for a CD for each island.

Our very own Paula Akana, tagged along with him on Lana'i.

"Not often do I get to actually visit places. But I'm blessed to know enough of the aina on the islands to be able to you know, compose enough for that island. But this was one of the few islands I got to visit and go holoholo," Kahele said.

On Lana'i, he learned about special places, their names their stories from Lana'i resident Kepa Maly.

There, we learned about a place called Maunalei.

"E ka mo'olelo na kupuna o Maunalei keia. This is Maunalei, the Kupuna said. and the reason it was called Maunalei, Mountain Garland, is because every afternoon, tutu said the clouds fly off to Maunalei and they formed a garland around the top of the mountain" Maly said. "Maunalei was once a place that was filled with water and kalo. We still can see them today. Auwai in the old accounts Hawaiian Nupepa Kupuna in the 1870s, described at one time, 1,000 people lived and sustained themselves off this valley."

Maly shared many places on the island with Kuana. He says the music project is important:

In 1790, there were 6,000 people on Lana'i. It was down to 175 by 1893. So much of the names and mele were lost.

"Hanau ka ua the rain of Maunalei and the mountain lands, ka mia, light mist rain lighter than the kilihune, it settles upon the land and gives it life. We lose all of that when our Kupuna are gone and when we've lost nine-tenths of our population. Garden of the gods? The name Keahi A Kawelo doesn’t translate into Garden Of The Gods. So the idea is give life, speak life, breathe it and put it to song and hula and guess what? Ola. Going have life, yeah?" Maly said.

"To me, the inoa the names of the aina, the place names whether it’s the pali, the aina, the ahupua'a whatever. To me, the names are the most important. That’s what I’m trying to hoomau, to perpetuate," Kahele said.

"So this gift that Kuana, when he began this legacy of creating mele lei, mele lei pae aina, this lei adornment of song for the Hawaiian archipelago. How cool that Lana'i has been made a part of it!” Maly said.

And even though the CD Lana'i Kaula has already been released, Kahele says he's not pau with this island.

"Lana'i. Magical, magical. I wrote my whole album in under a week a majority of the mele I wrote in two days," Kahele said. "One of the mele from my album that I wrote, there was so much to write about that one particular mele, that when I finished that song, I looked back at the song and there was 22 verses. Holy Moly! That's my whole CD just one song." 

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